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Do or Make?

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When should you use ‘do’ and ‘make’? The two common words can be confusing to language learners, and that’s why today we’re going to look at the differences and practise using the words!

How to use do

We use the verb ‘do’ when someone is working, or performing jobs and tasks that do not produce a physical object.     
     Mum! Can you help me do my homework?
     I have to do my job.
     She’s doing exercise.

We use ‘do’ when talking about activities in general.
     We’re not doing anything tomorrow night!
     I have done nothing all day.
     Do you want to do something on Thursday?

You can also use ‘do’ informally to replace a verb with an obvious meaning.
      I have to do my hair before dinner. (I have to style my hair before dinner.)
      He’s doing the laundry. (He’s washing the laundry.)
      Can you do the dishes, please? (Can you wash the dishes, please?)

How to use make

‘Make’ is typically used for actions that involve some kind of creation or production.
      This wine is made in France.
      Her bedroom door is made of wood.
      My clothes are handmade.

Food and meals are usually described using ‘make’
      I’m making lunch.
      Will you make a cake for John’s birthday?
      He’s making coffee right now.

‘Make’ can also be used for a produced action or reaction, including sounds and plans and decisions
     My parents made me clean my room.
     That movie makes my mother cry.
     I heard you make that noise.
     Have you made the dinner reservation?
     I hope you make a lot of friends this summer!

Try using it yourself!

  • Can you _____ dinner tonight?

  • The cat _____ loud sounds all night.

  • I'm going to _____ an English course this summer!

  • Don't worry, I'm _____ the dishes tonight.